Locals volunteer their services to help turn the lights back on in Texas

Service Electric Power line workers from East and Middle Tennessee drove to Texas on Friday to assist efforts to return power to the city. (Courtesy: John Rouse)

A crew of 170 power line workers from Middle and East Tennessee have descended upon the Gulf Coast of Texas.

American Electic Power estimates that in the 24 hours after Hurricane Harvey hit land, 338,000 customers were without power.

John Rouse is one of many Service Electric power line workers trying to turn the lights back on.

"We come in anticipation of staying until everybody's restored back to normal," Rouse told NewsChannel 9 over video chat on Saturday afternoon.

Rouse and his crew put their own lives on the line driving from Tennessee straight into the eye of the storm.

"There's a lot of effort put in to keeping everyone safe during travels," Rouse said.

The crew arrived on Saturday and will spend the evening getting settled and organized for tomorrow, "you can imagine it takes a lot of work to get everyone where they need to be."

Like many of the men and women who made the trip to Texas, this is not Rouse's first time volunteering his services to those in need after a natural disaster.

He was one of the first to arrive in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina devastated the city.

"For myself personally I think hurricane Katrina was probably the most devastation I've seen....I don't think this is going to be as much flood damage and as wide spread but there's still a lot yet to be determined," Rouse said.

A representative of Service Electric says Rouse and his crew will work 16 hour days to restore power to the hundreds of thousands in the path of the storm.

"It's a rewarding part of the job to sacrifice what we do at home and your family's at home to go and help other families. I think it speaks well to service electric and east Tennessee, the volunteer spirit," Rouse said.

close video ad
Unmutetoggle ad audio on off